Stella Pettersen, 94
Long-time Georgetown resident and artist Stella Pettersen passed away November 14 at the Wilton Meadows Nursing Home after a prolonged illness. She was 94.
She grew up on a dairy farm in Griswold, CT and as the oldest of five children helped run the farm, from delivering milk to tending the chicken coops to working the fields. It was at an early age that she discovered her appreciation for and a skill in art.
She graduated from Griswold High School as its salutatorian. She also attended the American School of Design and the National Technical Institute, New York, NY. She studied at the Silvermine Guild of Artists in the 1960s with Revington Arthur and Gail Symon and later with visiting Yale professors Bernard Chaet, Robert Reed and Eve Ingalls.
Mrs. Pettersen served as a fashion artist on staff of McCall’s magazine and worked as a draftsman for Liberty ships, readying them for World War II with George A. Sharp, Naval Architect in New York City.
After moving from Griswold to Georgetown on Wilridge Road with her husband Walter in 1954, she later became very active in the Fairfield County art world. Known for her vibrant watercolors of botanicals she grew in her garden, Mrs. Pettersen also excelled at portraits and still lifes of oil on canvas, prints, studies of nudes, pencil and charcoal drawings and pottery.
She exhibited at 65 juried shows during her career — including eight one-person shows. She won 20 awards for her work around Fairfield County and regionally, including Bridgeport Art League’s Annual Soule Award in 1966 and its Grumbacher Award in 1969, the Rowayton Arts Center Grumbacher Award in 1966 and First in Oil in 1969 and the Stamford Art Association’s Best in Show in 1973 and First in Painting that same year.
At the 1975 New England Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture she was recognized with the Cleworth Publishing Award for first in Watercolor by a Fairfield County Artist.
She was a Painting, Portrait and Sustaining Member with the Silvermine Guild of Artists and was an Exhibition Chairman.
She was also affiliated with the Stamford Art Association; Rowayton Arts Center; Marblehead Arts, Marblehead, MA; Rockport Art Association, Rockport, MA; Bridgeport Art League; Ridgefield Guild of Artists; Wilton Gallery; Branchville SOHO; and volunteered at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield.
Mrs. Pettersen got great delight out of her Easter egg which was included in The White House Annual Easter Egg Roll and displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC in 1984. Her work also appeared on Norwalk-based C.R. Gibson Company’s Thank You greeting cards in 1986 and 1987.
She also exhibited at Kohn Pedersen Fox Gallery in Manhattan, Silvermine Guild’s 75th Anniversary Group Show in 1997 and was selected for two One-Person Shows at Silvermine: “Watercolors & Drawings” in the summer of 1977 and “Past and Present,” April 1999.
Mrs. Pettersen served on the National Executive Board and was Organization of States Chairman, Connecticut Branch President and Treasurer of the National League of American Penwomen — Painting. She received their National Art Board’s Distinguished Service Award from 1992-1994.
She was a past president of the Sacred Heart Church Rosary Society in Georgetown and a very active member of the parish for some 50 years.
She is pre-deceased by her loving husband Walter and siblings Emma Miller, Clara Adamowicz and Henry Adamowicz and her parents Mary and Joseph Adamowicz.
She is survived by her brother Joseph Adamowicz of Plainfield, CT; daughters Joanne Marushak of Wilton and Elizabeth Moriarty of Norwalk; son Paul of Garden City, NY and grandchildren Krystyna Marushak and Jane Marushak of Stratford, CT; Michael Marushak III of Redding, CT; Mary Sano of Hopewell Junction, NY; RJ Pettersen of Washington, DC and Brendan Pettersen of New York City and great-grandchildren Alyssa Marie Marushak and Michael Raymond Marushak of Redding.
A memorial service was held Monday, Nov. 19 at Sacred Heart Church in Georgetown. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made in Stella Pettersen’s name to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org.